The article on the spread of ticks and tick-borne disease in the Jan. 7 edition of your paper focused on climate change (”Maine researchers explore link between climate change and Lyme disease”). I was born in New Jersey, and have hunted in Virginia and Maryland, all of which were a lot warmer than Maine is now. I never saw a tick, or met anyone who had. I read of them only in stories set in the South.

In the 1970s, my sister, living in the town we grew up in, was unwilling to let her daughters play in the woods for fear of ticks, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

I would suggest that a more important human factor in this case is introducing the ticks by the increase in auto transport, which included pets, and the reintroduction of turkeys, which going by what my neighbors say has closely paralled the tick spread.

A speculative factor is the chestnut blight. The tree was the most common one in the Northeast, and its nuts were a primary food. The tree was very rot resistant. Could it have been a low-dose tickbane?

An example of food-based medication would be the Nubians who were noted by contemporary writers to be unusualy healthy. Scans of bones done in the 1970s showed them to have gotten doses of anybiotics, determined to be from fungi in their grain.

Tom Heyns

Chelsea


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